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  1. #101
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Quote Originally Posted by sakso136 View Post
    Hi mike,
    HNY 2019.
    I ve read all the thread and no doubt iq200 monos are amazing.
    I know you had the AR 160 m also, so to compare the 2 amps what will you say.
    Thks


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    HNY!

    Come on in the store and compare for yourself.

    They are very speaker dependent.
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

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  2. #102

    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    HNY!

    Come on in the store and compare for yourself.

    They are very speaker dependent.
    Trust me, if I visit the west coast you re number one in my list.
    I m not asking you to say wich one is the winner over the other but just to have an idea of overall sq.
    I m asking this , cause my local dealer just brought AR gear to town, and ref6+ 160m are shown for audition( wich I will soon visit)
    Since the 2 amps plays in same league regarding price and all the winner prices went to 160, I was just curious!


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  3. #103
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Quote Originally Posted by sakso136 View Post
    Trust me, if I visit the west coast you re number one in my list.
    I m not asking you to say wich one is the winner over the other but just to have an idea of overall sq.
    I m asking this , cause my local dealer just brought AR gear to town, and ref6+ 160m are shown for audition( wich I will soon visit)
    Since the 2 amps plays in same league regarding price and all the winner prices went to 160, I was just curious!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    They’re both VERY speaker and individual listener dependent. They are completely “chalk and cheese” in my books. Very different. Design philosophies are different as well as the sound signatures. But rest assured, both are at the top of their game.
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Aqua Hi-Fi, Audio Research, Aurender, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Avid HiFi, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Boulder Amplifiers, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Bryston, Chord, EMM Labs, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones, Furutech, Fyne Audio Loudspeakers, GigaFoil, Gryphon Audio, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Hegel, HiFi Man, ISO Acoustics, Keces Power Supplies, Kuzma Turntables, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MBL Speakers & Electronics, MSB Technologies, MySonicLabs Phono Cartridges, Naim Audio, Ortofon, Pass Labs, Quadraspire, Shunyata Research, SimAudio, Stein Music Products, Stenheim Loudspeakers, Stillpoints, T+A Electronics, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, VPI Industries, WireWorld Cables.

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  4. #104

    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    They’re both VERY speaker and individual listener dependent. They are completely “chalk and cheese” in my books. Very different. Design philosophies are different as well as the sound signatures. But rest assured, both are at the top of their game.
    I will follow up on this interesting thread,
    And I will post my impressions on the 160m amps on the concerning thread.
    Thks


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  5. #105
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    They’re both VERY speaker and individual listener dependent. They are completely “chalk and cheese” in my books. Very different. Design philosophies are different as well as the sound signatures. But rest assured, both are at the top of their game.
    This is so true. The first tube gear I auditioned in my home setup was AR in which I was extremely dissapointed soundwise. So much so that I went with Solid State again. I had taken AR home instead of the Vac sheerly on it’s looks! Much later was that I tried the Vac and fell in love with its sound.
    Larry


    Lumin U1
    Chord Dave Dac
    Vac Master Preamp
    Vac 200IQ Amp
    Magico S3 Mk2 in Mcast Pewter
    Denali 6000S
    Ansuz and MIT cabling
    Timbernation walnut racks

  6. #106

    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Quote Originally Posted by Dguitarnut View Post
    This is so true. The first tube gear I auditioned in my home setup was AR in which I was extremely dissapointed soundwise. So much so that I went with Solid State again. I had taken AR home instead of the Vac sheerly on it’s looks! Much later was that I tried the Vac and fell in love with its sound.
    I heard only once AR, My ears at that time we’re nt educated enough to distinguish any sq type or kind.
    But what I read, is the new generation AR is different from the old generation.


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  7. #107
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    I would tend to believe that the tubes they are built around gives them that intrinsic personality. Oddly enough I am really enjoying my 200iq with the KT 150’s which are the ones in the Ar 160M. That’s the beauty of the continuous biasing of the Vacs. Of course you can argue all day that the 160Ms are better voiced with that tube than a do all amp.
    Larry


    Lumin U1
    Chord Dave Dac
    Vac Master Preamp
    Vac 200IQ Amp
    Magico S3 Mk2 in Mcast Pewter
    Denali 6000S
    Ansuz and MIT cabling
    Timbernation walnut racks

  8. #108
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Here also a very happy owner of the VAC Signature 200 IQs. I bought these in January of this year after evaluating many other amplifier brands like ModWright, Goldmund, CH-precision, TAD, Nagra, Alieno, ... In the end these VACs were the best match with my Von Schweikert VR10mk2 and the rest of the setup. Already read many very good experiences, but the VACs were the best regardless the pricetag. For the money they are extremely good. Best regards, Jan

  9. #109

    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Got a pair of 200iQ on loan here, pretty excited for the weekend! I've been using Rogue Audio Apollo and then Apollo Dark on Tannoys for almost 10 contiguous years now. Speakers are Tannoy Canterbury GR. Just did a quick test-run after hookup, but as I've come to expect from almost any VAC vs. Rogue comparison - I can already tell vocal presentation is that much more lifelike & beautiful, and soundstage & depth seem much better too. Now the kicker is I listen to quite a lot of hard rock and classic heavy metal (not the cookie monster vocals stuff), so I'm really curious to see if these amps can at least "thrash" like the Apollos. Some of the VAC gear I've had in here can rock out better than others (the phono stages are particularly amazing at this). The 200iQs will be working with my beloved VAC Renaissance SE phono stage, and an ARC Reference 6 preamp. Stock tubes in the 200iQ's but I have gobs of Tung-Sol KT120 in the Apollos if I want to try that out (no KT150, unfortunately).

  10. #110
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    I listen to plenty of classic rock with my Signature 200iQ and it sounds great. (Currently awaiting my second amp to pair for mono duty.)

    Honestly, this amp is fantastic and does great with all types of music. I'll be interested in hearing your impressions.
    Rance


    Synology DS411+II | GigaFOILv4+Keces P3 Power Supply | Audioquest Diamond Ethernet | Lumin S1 | VAC Master Line Stage | VAC Signature 200 iQ amps | ARC REFERENCE 160M amps | JBL 4367+Isoacoustics Gaia I | SVS PC-4000 subs x 2 | Shunyata 6000T | Luminous Audio Technology cabling and power | Solid Tech racks | Vicoustics room treatments | ASC Iso-wall/Iso-ceiling construction

  11. #111
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    I might add...I tried KT150s in mine and didn't like it as well, thought it lost a little of the magic.
    Rance


    Synology DS411+II | GigaFOILv4+Keces P3 Power Supply | Audioquest Diamond Ethernet | Lumin S1 | VAC Master Line Stage | VAC Signature 200 iQ amps | ARC REFERENCE 160M amps | JBL 4367+Isoacoustics Gaia I | SVS PC-4000 subs x 2 | Shunyata 6000T | Luminous Audio Technology cabling and power | Solid Tech racks | Vicoustics room treatments | ASC Iso-wall/Iso-ceiling construction

  12. #112
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    If I had to downsize it would be the hardest piece to give up.
    In my system Kt150s are like attaching testicles to it.
    Larry


    Lumin U1
    Chord Dave Dac
    Vac Master Preamp
    Vac 200IQ Amp
    Magico S3 Mk2 in Mcast Pewter
    Denali 6000S
    Ansuz and MIT cabling
    Timbernation walnut racks

  13. #113
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Post removed, will start separate thread.
    Last edited by Robd2; November 9, 2019 at 08:43 AM. Reason: Post removed, will start separate thread.

  14. #114
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    I listen to plenty of rock on mine too. In fact, Neil Young is “Down by the river” right now 🤗

    In addition to your overall impression, I’d be grateful to hear what you think about the KT120’s in the 200iQ.
    Analog source: AMG Viella 12; Ortofon Anna cartridge, van den Hul Crimson Stradivarius XGW
    Digital source: Totaldac d1-twelve Mk2 DAC, Totaldac d1-player, Totaldac d1-streamer, Totaldac Live Power supply
    Pre amp: VAC Master with phono
    Phonostage: ​Constellation Andromeda
    Amps: VAC 200iQ monoblocks
    Speakers: Magico M3 with MPods
    Cables: Synergistic Research Galileo SX speaker, phono, analog and digital interconnects
    Power products: Synergistic Research Power Cell 12 UEF and Transporter Ultra. Galileo power cords.

  15. #115

    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Everything you guys have been saying about these amps is right!

    The 200iQ monos were extremely impressive last night. They do sound better than Apollo Darks, in virtually every aspect. They actually sound more powerful - they’re not by Wattage, but they sound more composed, smooth, lifelike, and ballsy when needed. Definitely a dose of the VAC magic midrange, and a very natural touch of warmth. YES they can rock, better than the Apollo’s in fact! The Apollo Darks overall sound a little "flat" and dull compared to the VACs. This with stock KT88. Had a bit of a dumbass moment where I had the wrong setting on the phono stage earlier in the evening, so my KT120 impressions are invalid but I’ll try again. Once I set things right, the KT88 were really faultless, I was wanting for nothing but more and more listening time. Same comparison issue with one amp vs 2, but now that I’ve enjoyed 2 for a night I doubt I’ll be able to downgrade to 1.

    I wouldn’t say they’re quite night and day better than the Apollos, which do a fine job - but they certainly are a very significant, very apparent improvement. I think amp is probably the weak point in my system now (sorry Rogue - I’ve been with them for ages and finally outgrew their line) and the VACs will more than rectify that.

    Also let me note I tube rolled the hell out of the Apollo Dark’s small tubes, and achieved a very notable boost in performance over the tubes it shipped with (and it actually shipped with Telefunken smooth plate 12ax7 and RCA Clear tip 12au7, not junk by any standard). So a stock Apollo Dark is even further behind these VACs. Man, replacing 3 quads of KT120 in the Rogue was a big pain (did it 3 or 4 times over 9 years), and the exotic small tubes I settled on were expensive and extremely hard to find. So nice how the VAC sounds like it does with stock Russian tubes, and only 2 quads of KT88! My only regret will be that I think the Apollos look cool as hell, just a nice aesthetic fit for my setup. The VACs are a bit more awkward here IMO but it’s sound that rules here.

    In short I absolutely want a pair! Man the price is gonna kill me though
    Time to sell a bunch of gear!!!

  16. #116

    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    I think they'll look better in black! Yes that's hockey pucks instead of a proper amp stand. The ones for the Apollos won't fit here. I'm gonna be poor for a while so this may have to do - and nobody's getting a Christmas present from me either lol. I'm getting excited about these amps, guys.


  17. #117
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Very cool @mulveling. Any specific thoughts on the base response of the 200IQs?

  18. #118

    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Quote Originally Posted by Robd2 View Post
    Very cool @mulveling. Any specific thoughts on the base response of the 200IQs?
    It's awesome. Wonderful power and slam; more than the Rogue monos. I wasn't entirely expecting that, given the Rogues should be pushing close to 300 Watts/ch (and the Rogue amps are generally reputed for their power, slam, and dynamics), but it's very welcome as there had been this nagging suspicion in the back of my mind I was missing something more there that the Canterburys could give. The intuition was right. The 200iQ monos simply have a beautiful touch of warmth from the midrange down into the bass, and the exact right tiny amount of "bloom" to make notes and instruments feel more fleshy and alive. Treble, as typical from the best VAC gear, has the exact right amount of sparkle while being clean, beautiful, and never harsh, glarey or irritating. These really just nail the right balance and mix of everything. I wanted an amp incarnation of the sound from my Renaissance SE phono stage, and these 200iQ's are IT. Kevin is just a master of voicing tube electronics, and he seems to be getting better at it with time. I feel like I should have explored this route sooner.

    The Rogue voicing is definitely more dry/analytical, and I selected its NOS tubes (Mazda 12ax7 silver plates, 1950s Sylvania black plate 12bh7) to maximize the dynamics and bass response rather than trying to "beautify" the mids (e.g. Mullards). Even with that it STILL can't compete with the 200iQ monos on dynamics. And I guarantee you that if I threw in all the tubes to make the midrange pretty, it STILL could never match the VAC on that front

    Maybe next year I'll give VAC preamps another try, and look at maybe having an all-VAC system
    Part of my problem there is that I'm obsessed with digital remote volume control on my REF 6, and that will be HARD to give up. Also, for whatever reason, I usually find something sonically that doesn't 100% jive with me on their Renaissance preamps (III and V) - unlike their phono stages and now these 200iQ amps. Weird. That may away when the VAC preamp is sandwiched between two sibling VAC components!

    I'm like 99% set on ordering a pair now, but I have another night of two of auditioning to work out that last 1%

  19. #119
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Glad to hear you like them! Your description of the sound matches my perception, too. I keep thinking I should try KT120’s or 150’s, but then I turn on the system to listen to some music, and it just sounds so “right”. Makes me forget about upgrading this or rolling that—I just want to enjoy the music! For me, that’s what this hobby is about. I have no doubt there are “better” amps. The 450iQ’s probably do some things better if I know Kevin! But would they allow me to enjoy the music more than I do now? Doubtful, because I’m enjoying the h*ll out of my system now.

    The one thing I would say: if you can find a way to get the Master preamp, try to audition it. While the VAC REN preamps are VERY good, the Master is in another league. I was flabbergasted at how much more musical information it conveyed relative to my previous VAC preamp. I believe it’s the single best piece of equipment I own.
    Analog source: AMG Viella 12; Ortofon Anna cartridge, van den Hul Crimson Stradivarius XGW
    Digital source: Totaldac d1-twelve Mk2 DAC, Totaldac d1-player, Totaldac d1-streamer, Totaldac Live Power supply
    Pre amp: VAC Master with phono
    Phonostage: ​Constellation Andromeda
    Amps: VAC 200iQ monoblocks
    Speakers: Magico M3 with MPods
    Cables: Synergistic Research Galileo SX speaker, phono, analog and digital interconnects
    Power products: Synergistic Research Power Cell 12 UEF and Transporter Ultra. Galileo power cords.

  20. #120
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Quote Originally Posted by mulveling View Post
    I think they'll look better in black! Yes that's hockey pucks instead of a proper amp stand. The ones for the Apollos won't fit here. I'm gonna be poor for a while so this may have to do - and nobody's getting a Christmas present from me either lol. I'm getting excited about these amps, guys.

    WOW. Beautiful system.
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Aqua Hi-Fi, Audio Research, Aurender, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Avid HiFi, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Boulder Amplifiers, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Bryston, Chord, EMM Labs, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones, Furutech, Fyne Audio Loudspeakers, GigaFoil, Gryphon Audio, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Hegel, HiFi Man, ISO Acoustics, Keces Power Supplies, Kuzma Turntables, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MBL Speakers & Electronics, MSB Technologies, MySonicLabs Phono Cartridges, Naim Audio, Ortofon, Pass Labs, Quadraspire, Shunyata Research, SimAudio, Stein Music Products, Stenheim Loudspeakers, Stillpoints, T+A Electronics, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, VPI Industries, WireWorld Cables.

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  21. #121

    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    They performed stellar again last night, obviously. I plan on ordering a pair this week no matter what body parts have to be cut off or out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dth31 View Post
    The one thing I would say: if you can find a way to get the Master preamp, try to audition it. While the VAC REN preamps are VERY good, the Master is in another league. I was flabbergasted at how much more musical information it conveyed relative to my previous VAC preamp. I believe it’s the single best piece of equipment I own.

    Unfortunately the Master is also in another price league, and I'm gonna be tapped out for a while
    I definitely think I need more than the Ren V, given how the REF 6 won out overall when I auditioned the former a year ago. That said, it's a bit of a different system context now with the 200iQ's and other "tweaks" (upgraded Koetsus), and I haven't heard the Ren V SE version which may be more to my liking. The Signature IIa SE looks interesting and is at a more achievable price point. Do you have any experience with that?

  22. #122
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Quote Originally Posted by mulveling View Post
    The Signature IIa SE looks interesting and is at a more achievable price point. Do you have any experience with that?
    Unfortunately no. I did own the non-SE Signature IIa which was replaced by the Master.

    You’ve assembled an outstanding system that obviously brings you a lot of joy. That’s awesome! Continue to enjoy the journey, save up, upgrade as you can or feel the need to. But most importantly, keep enjoying the music along the way!
    Analog source: AMG Viella 12; Ortofon Anna cartridge, van den Hul Crimson Stradivarius XGW
    Digital source: Totaldac d1-twelve Mk2 DAC, Totaldac d1-player, Totaldac d1-streamer, Totaldac Live Power supply
    Pre amp: VAC Master with phono
    Phonostage: ​Constellation Andromeda
    Amps: VAC 200iQ monoblocks
    Speakers: Magico M3 with MPods
    Cables: Synergistic Research Galileo SX speaker, phono, analog and digital interconnects
    Power products: Synergistic Research Power Cell 12 UEF and Transporter Ultra. Galileo power cords.

  23. #123

    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    200iQ monoblocks are officially on order (in black). I'm excited!
    Dth31, I kind of wonder how even a non-SE Signature IIa preamp would gel in my system, now. I remember it's not too long since that was the very top VAC preamp; about the time I bought the Renaissance III circa 2010. But like you say (and you're right about the joy this system brings me), I should savor the latest upgrade for a while before I reexamine preamp

  24. #124
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Quote Originally Posted by mulveling View Post
    200iQ monoblocks are officially on order (in black). I'm excited!
    Dth31, I kind of wonder how even a non-SE Signature IIa preamp would gel in my system, now. I remember it's not too long since that was the very top VAC preamp; about the time I bought the Renaissance III circa 2010. But like you say (and you're right about the joy this system brings me), I should savor the latest upgrade for a while before I reexamine preamp
    Woot!!! Congrats!! Awesome news


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Aqua Hi-Fi, Audio Research, Aurender, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Avid HiFi, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Boulder Amplifiers, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Bryston, Chord, EMM Labs, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones, Furutech, Fyne Audio Loudspeakers, GigaFoil, Gryphon Audio, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Hegel, HiFi Man, ISO Acoustics, Keces Power Supplies, Kuzma Turntables, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MBL Speakers & Electronics, MSB Technologies, MySonicLabs Phono Cartridges, Naim Audio, Ortofon, Pass Labs, Quadraspire, Shunyata Research, SimAudio, Stein Music Products, Stenheim Loudspeakers, Stillpoints, T+A Electronics, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, VPI Industries, WireWorld Cables.

    https://suncoastaudio.com/
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    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Suncoast-Au...1105178279194/

  25. #125
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Quote Originally Posted by mulveling View Post
    200iQ monoblocks are officially on order (in black). I'm excited!
    Dth31, I kind of wonder how even a non-SE Signature IIa preamp would gel in my system, now. I remember it's not too long since that was the very top VAC preamp; about the time I bought the Renaissance III circa 2010. But like you say (and you're right about the joy this system brings me), I should savor the latest upgrade for a while before I reexamine preamp
    Congratulations!!! I am so happy for you. I’m confident you’re going to enjoy them a LOT!

    I have the black, too. Love the look!
    Analog source: AMG Viella 12; Ortofon Anna cartridge, van den Hul Crimson Stradivarius XGW
    Digital source: Totaldac d1-twelve Mk2 DAC, Totaldac d1-player, Totaldac d1-streamer, Totaldac Live Power supply
    Pre amp: VAC Master with phono
    Phonostage: ​Constellation Andromeda
    Amps: VAC 200iQ monoblocks
    Speakers: Magico M3 with MPods
    Cables: Synergistic Research Galileo SX speaker, phono, analog and digital interconnects
    Power products: Synergistic Research Power Cell 12 UEF and Transporter Ultra. Galileo power cords.

  26. #126

    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Thanks guys! And I get to keep the loaner silver 200iQ pair while I wait a couple weeks for VAC to build mine. Every time I listen to them I swoon again. Definitely, with this new reference, there was a touch of thinness and glare in the last amps that is long gone now!!

  27. #127
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Congratulations! Enjoy the music
    Jan

    Dedicated room: Confidence Mansion
    Electronics: Trinnov Altitude32 | VAC Signature 200 IQ mono’s | Parasound Halo JC-1’s + A51 | Synology DS918+/DX517 (48TB) | Oppo BDP-105D / UDP-203 CM Stufe2
    Speakers: Von Schweikert VR10-MKII system | Dynaudio Confidence C4 | Velodyne DD-18
    Projection: JVC DLA-RS55 | Stewart LX123HST13
    Various: Artesania Exoteryc 3L + Aire racks | Schnerzinger Emi + Giga Piccolo A3 | PS Audio Stellar Power Plant 3 | iPad Pro 12.9” (2018) | Roon
    Cables: AudioQuest Huricane EC | Nordost Frey speakercable | AudioQuest Diamond RJ/E | AudioQuest Diamond HDMI


  28. #128
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Hi all,
    Has someone ever tried what happens if you use a power regenerator on your VAC Amplifier and then especially in combination with the VAC 200IQ’s? If so, what is your experience and under what conditions? Are there e.g. alternatives for the PS Audio power plant P15 or P20?
    Thanks in advance. Best regards, Jan
    Jan

    Dedicated room: Confidence Mansion
    Electronics: Trinnov Altitude32 | VAC Signature 200 IQ mono’s | Parasound Halo JC-1’s + A51 | Synology DS918+/DX517 (48TB) | Oppo BDP-105D / UDP-203 CM Stufe2
    Speakers: Von Schweikert VR10-MKII system | Dynaudio Confidence C4 | Velodyne DD-18
    Projection: JVC DLA-RS55 | Stewart LX123HST13
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  29. #129
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Quote Originally Posted by mulveling View Post
    The Signature IIa SE looks interesting and is at a more achievable price point. Do you have any experience with that?
    I had my Signature IIa upgraded to SE and it's a totally different preamp. HUGE improvements in every area ... no exaggeration! Spoke with Kevin and key is statement level transformers.

    Before deciding on a Master, I highly recommend demo MKlla SE in the same system.

    BTW, congrats on 200IQs

  30. #130
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Quote Originally Posted by knghifi View Post
    I had my Signature IIa upgraded to SE and it's a totally different preamp. HUGE improvements in every area ... no exaggeration! Spoke with Kevin and key is statement level transformers.

    Before deciding on a Master, I highly recommend demo MKlla SE in the same system.

    BTW, congrats on 200IQs
    big congrats @mulveling! I need to demo a set of the 200IQs soon! Enjoy these before jumping into the preamp search.

    FYI Another Signature SE owner data point here for you as I’m also very impressed with mine. I spent A LOT of time shopping for my current preamp (years). The one in home demo I was never able to make happen was with a Ref 6 so I’ll be very interested to hear your comparisons when the time comes.

    With that said, I really want to take home a Master to now compare to my Signature SE. You will feel the same way if you get the SE.

  31. #131

    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Finally tried an octet of Tung-Sol KT120. The 200iQ's sound fantastic either way - it's not a *huge* difference, and overall tonal balance is very similar. However the sound is perhaps little bit more rockin' with the KT120 - very dynamic and punchy. Large, engaging sound field. Awesome with rock, hard rock, metal, pop music. Perhaps a touch more dry in the mids, but definitely not enough to mess up that beautiful VAC midrange. I made this same sort of choice with the Apollos, preferring its more punchy Ultralinear mode over the slightly sweeter Triode. The music I most listen to falls into pop / rock / metal, so...I really like these KT120! I'll continue to listen this way for a while before I try the KT88 again to gain some final clarity on the comparison. Got some vintage 6SN7 tubes on the way too (frustratingly, my old tube stash has numerous pairs and singles of 6SN7, but no quads). Still have the output taps to play with, and of course eventually these will need a proper stand. These amps can probably go even further. Easily still in honeymoon phase here, it's been a blast!

  32. #132
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Lol....one man’s treasure is another man’s trash.
    I didn’t like them much in my system. A couple of days ago I changed out my Kt150s for the stock Kt88’s Golden Lions (not nos) for chit and kibbles and they sound nicer than I remembered. Now I would like to locate some KR Kt88’s which I found to be a notch above these stock tubes.
    Larry


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  33. #133
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Agree with you Larry... I ran KT150's for about 2 weeks. I ended up preferring the KR KT88's... and preferring the KR's just a small notch above the Gold Lion new issues...

    I'm also sitting on two matched NOS Gold Lion tubes, and on the search for two more. So hard to find!
    Jeremy

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  34. #134
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Got my second one of these last week (thanks Mike!). WOW! Bigger, bolder, even more of the same greatness. The 'iron fist in a velvet glove' kind of thing.
    Rance


    Synology DS411+II | GigaFOILv4+Keces P3 Power Supply | Audioquest Diamond Ethernet | Lumin S1 | VAC Master Line Stage | VAC Signature 200 iQ amps | ARC REFERENCE 160M amps | JBL 4367+Isoacoustics Gaia I | SVS PC-4000 subs x 2 | Shunyata 6000T | Luminous Audio Technology cabling and power | Solid Tech racks | Vicoustics room treatments | ASC Iso-wall/Iso-ceiling construction

  35. #135
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Quote Originally Posted by rrwmd View Post
    Got my second one of these last week (thanks Mike!). WOW! Bigger, bolder, even more of the same greatness. The 'iron fist in a velvet glove' kind of thing.
    Interesting. That was my experience, too. Immediately audible, not the kind of situation where you’re wondering if maybe it’s a little better. More solid foundation. More body. A lot better. Just don’t ask me why...
    Analog source: AMG Viella 12; Ortofon Anna cartridge, van den Hul Crimson Stradivarius XGW
    Digital source: Totaldac d1-twelve Mk2 DAC, Totaldac d1-player, Totaldac d1-streamer, Totaldac Live Power supply
    Pre amp: VAC Master with phono
    Phonostage: ​Constellation Andromeda
    Amps: VAC 200iQ monoblocks
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  36. #136
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Lalalalalala........I can’t read the above 2 posts..
    Larry


    Lumin U1
    Chord Dave Dac
    Vac Master Preamp
    Vac 200IQ Amp
    Magico S3 Mk2 in Mcast Pewter
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  37. #137
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Those of you running 4ohm speakers with the 200IQs, which output taps are you using?

  38. #138
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Quote Originally Posted by Robd2 View Post
    Those of you running 4ohm speakers with the 200IQs, which output taps are you using?
    I have 1-2, 2-4 and 4-8 ohm taps and I use them as monoblocks, so I believe the taps for each amp are paralleled. I use the 2-4 ohm taps for my Magicos.
    Analog source: AMG Viella 12; Ortofon Anna cartridge, van den Hul Crimson Stradivarius XGW
    Digital source: Totaldac d1-twelve Mk2 DAC, Totaldac d1-player, Totaldac d1-streamer, Totaldac Live Power supply
    Pre amp: VAC Master with phono
    Phonostage: ​Constellation Andromeda
    Amps: VAC 200iQ monoblocks
    Speakers: Magico M3 with MPods
    Cables: Synergistic Research Galileo SX speaker, phono, analog and digital interconnects
    Power products: Synergistic Research Power Cell 12 UEF and Transporter Ultra. Galileo power cords.

  39. #139

    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Finally got my brand new black pair of 200iQ, and sent the silver loaners on their way. They look sick! Unfortunately I also got a nice sinus infection for Christmas, and my right ear is particularly screwed up in the meantime, but from what I can hear these might actually sound better than the loaners, even right out of the box. My pair has adjacent serial #s and is latest production, while the loaners were each made a year apart - the meters weren't even matching in color & brightness. Also the loaners showed a lot of use in the KT88 getters, which may have colored my earlier KT88 vs. KT120 comparisons. I'm leaving the brand new stock tubes in for now. Can't wait till my ears clear up!

    [img]https://i.imgur.com/Sv4H8om.jpg[/img]

  40. #140
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Congratulations. I love the 200iQs in black with the gold flecks. Enjoy!
    Analog source: AMG Viella 12; Ortofon Anna cartridge, van den Hul Crimson Stradivarius XGW
    Digital source: Totaldac d1-twelve Mk2 DAC, Totaldac d1-player, Totaldac d1-streamer, Totaldac Live Power supply
    Pre amp: VAC Master with phono
    Phonostage: ​Constellation Andromeda
    Amps: VAC 200iQ monoblocks
    Speakers: Magico M3 with MPods
    Cables: Synergistic Research Galileo SX speaker, phono, analog and digital interconnects
    Power products: Synergistic Research Power Cell 12 UEF and Transporter Ultra. Galileo power cords.

  41. #141

    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Thanks! The gold-fleck black finish is really amazing - it looks "wet" and endlessly deep and smooth - unlike those ubiquitous cheap glossy black finishes. The gold flecks are icing. I'm getting a growing itch to replace my REF 6 (awesome as it is) with a black VAC pre now. Need to borrow my dealer's Ren V again to see if the synergy equation has changed (loved its midrange & tone, didn't think it rocked quite as well as the REF 6).

    And as luck would have it, my right ear has remained blocked up all week and it turns out to be a middle-ear infection to go with the sinuses. Haven't been sick in 4 years; was starting to feel immune. Perhaps it's the Audio Gods reminding me not to fly too high to fast. Got some antibiotics from the doc today - here's hoping it turns around for this weekend.

  42. #142
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Congrats on the amazing new amps! Enjoy in good health. Hopefully the ear issue clears up.


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  43. #143

    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Thanks Mike. Ear is still not fully better, though at least it's starting to have moments where it can hear up to 85% again (and then it will close up again grr). But ugh, this is killing me.

    In anticipation of my ear actually getting better at some point, I was a bad boy today and snagged a used Renaissance Mk V at a good price. I'd borrowed one before, and decided to stick with my REF6, but that was before these 200iQ's. I think the REF6's sonic signature is now sticking out more in contrast to the VAC phono stage & amps - it's a bit forward, and aggressive compared to the VAC sound. And that's a double-edged sword - on one side it can really thrash and get the adrenaline rushing with hard rock and heavy metal music, but on the other it can be "too much" on parts of recordings with harsh/shrill top-end energy - and the latter is exacerbated by the Tannoy horn tweeter. Now I want to give the full-house VAC sound a try (and I'll roll some really nice Seimens / Philips E88CC tubes this time). This will probably not be my final preamp destination (at least upgrade to SE status), but I'm so pleased with the VAC phono and 200iQ's I think it's time to give the VAC pre another try. I also feel more comfortable with VAC service going forward, as needed.

  44. #144
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Quote Originally Posted by mulveling View Post
    Thanks Mike. Ear is still not fully better, though at least it's starting to have moments where it can hear up to 85% again (and then it will close up again grr). But ugh, this is killing me.

    In anticipation of my ear actually getting better at some point, I was a bad boy today and snagged a used Renaissance Mk V at a good price. I'd borrowed one before, and decided to stick with my REF6, but that was before these 200iQ's. I think the REF6's sonic signature is now sticking out more in contrast to the VAC phono stage & amps - it's a bit forward, and aggressive compared to the VAC sound. And that's a double-edged sword - on one side it can really thrash and get the adrenaline rushing with hard rock and heavy metal music, but on the other it can be "too much" on parts of recordings with harsh/shrill top-end energy - and the latter is exacerbated by the Tannoy horn tweeter. Now I want to give the full-house VAC sound a try (and I'll roll some really nice Seimens / Philips E88CC tubes this time). This will probably not be my final preamp destination (at least upgrade to SE status), but I'm so pleased with the VAC phono and 200iQ's I think it's time to give the VAC pre another try. I also feel more comfortable with VAC service going forward, as needed.
    Glad the ear is getting better. Ear aches are no fun!

    My two cents: You really want to save up (even if it takes a long time) and go Master. It’s just head and shoulders above any of the other VAC preamps (except for the Statement).
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

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  45. #145

    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Boy, it's been a long road on my sinus & ear infection recovery. Still not 100% back, but something like 95% back in the bad ear, at least. Saturday was the first time I had a clear ear for a good listening session with my brand new 200iQ. I think I'm realizing that of great relevance to your preferred tubes in these amps - besides just speakers, music genres, personal preferences, and recording quality - is the question of what volume levels you enjoy. The 200iQ's stock KT88 and 6SN7, though not fully burned in yet, could get a bit too searing hot up top on my Tannoys, at loud volumes, with less than perfect rock/pop recordings. I don't remember the loaner's stock tubes being quite this hot to handle, so a good part of this must be tube burn-in. The use of my own Russian KT120 and Slyvania "tall boy" 6SN7GTA, as I ended up using with the loaner amps, seems to be the perfect remedy - and is sounding just as I remembered with the loaner amps. Almost any recording, with at least some good qualities to it, is immensely enjoyable with this "relaxed" tube complement at my "weekend night" listening levels.

    The Renaissance V pre arrived yesterday - though I know I need to keep an eye on the Master for the long run. As it was with my prior trial of this preamp (over a year ago now), it's pitting the V's beautiful midrange & voicing against the REF6's overall top-to-bottom balance, extension, and resolution. It sounds great, but I'm not sure I'm getting any extra-special synergy sauce with the V paired to 200iQ's, besides perhaps a little more depth to the stage. I love the look of all-VAC faces, but the REF6 sonics are admittedly quite hard to beat. Now I have to wonder how the REF6SE would sound. With the Renaissance V so far, I've tried some Upscale Audio Platinum-grade 1970's Siemens gold-pin E88CC (A-frame), but quickly went back to the stock Electro-Harmonix - the top-end sear of the Siemens here was also too much for my setup, and the EH tubes back it off perfectly. Wasn't expecting the Siemens to get so easily dismissed! Dang, those probably need burn-in too lol. I have others to try yet, including Philips PQ E88CC and Matsushita PCC88, both of which I know to already sound wonderful in other amps. Gotta give it some more time. A lot has changed in my system in 2 years!

  46. #146

    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    I finally tried an octet of KT150. Yuck! Not in my system, not for me. Midrange dry and hollow; recessed. Slam / impact is awesome, but detracts from the overall musical message for the way I’m hearing things. I still prefer the KT120. I like the stock Gold Lion KT88 better than these KT150, though. This was a mistake, but that’s life!

  47. #147
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Glad you are finally feeling better. Thank you for updating us on your findings with the KT150. All amps are different and it goes to show, try it and see if you like it.
    Wharfedale Linton w/ stands, Avantgarde Duo XD, Klipsch RB-75, Klipsch RP-160M.

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  48. #148
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    I recently tried my stock KT88 Gold Lions again with my new hearing aids and after a week I even forgot they were in the amp. The amp sounded as good as ever and then I cycled the Kt 150s back and I still prefer their sound. The Kt120s I couldn’t get rid of fast enough just opposite of mulvelings experience.
    I guess it depends on what your system is composed of, your auditory prowess and tastes.
    I would love to get the KR Audio Kt88’s back in my system as I felt they are the best balanced sound that I have had in my Vac. It’s just the ouch price that keeps me away.
    Maybe you need a Master Pre.....
    Larry


    Lumin U1
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  49. #149

    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Quote Originally Posted by Dguitarnut View Post
    I recently tried my stock KT88 Gold Lions again with my new hearing aids and after a week I even forgot they were in the amp. The amp sounded as good as ever and then I cycled the Kt 150s back and I still prefer their sound. The Kt120s I couldn’t get rid of fast enough just opposite of mulvelings experience.
    I guess it depends on what your system is composed of, your auditory prowess and tastes.
    I would love to get the KR Audio Kt88’s back in my system as I felt they are the best balanced sound that I have had in my Vac. It’s just the ouch price that keeps me away.
    Maybe you need a Master Pre.....
    I admit my system may be a bit weird. I love my Tannoys, but they can be terribly picky about some things upstream. And I like to listen loud, so that's another variable against many other audiophiles. We all know preferences differ a lot too!
    The 200iQs (especially w/ KT120), VAC Renaissance phono - these went into my system and synergized immediately. Very clear improvements across the board, with those. I actually borrowed a Master pre, and honestly to my shock the Ref 6 is still a slightly better fit overall.

    My girlfriend was surprised at how much difference she heard in this tube swap. She also nailed the sonic differences, without me prompting or leading her to my own thoughts.

  50. #150
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    Re: VAC Signature iQ200

    Quote Originally Posted by mulveling View Post
    I admit my system may be a bit weird. I love my Tannoys, but they can be terribly picky about some things upstream. And I like to listen loud, so that's another variable against many other audiophiles. We all know preferences differ a lot too!
    The 200iQs (especially w/ KT120), VAC Renaissance phono - these went into my system and synergized immediately. Very clear improvements across the board, with those. I actually borrowed a Master pre, and honestly to my shock the Ref 6 is still a slightly better fit overall.

    My girlfriend was surprised at how much difference she heard in this tube swap. She also nailed the sonic differences, without me prompting or leading her to my own thoughts.
    How many hours on KT150 before giving up?

    On my CAT JL7 and ARC REF250SE, KT150 new sounds harsh and 2D until ~50 hours before settling.

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